“Bonding is a loving experience. The absence of bonding is fear.”
~Barbara Findeisen, Lifelong Patterns of Fear & Wholeness
This past weekend, we had the opportunity to celebrate 20 years of Attachment Parenting International at the Pathways to Child Flourishing Conference. Since 1994, Attachment Parenting International (API) has brought experts, parents and families together for mutual support, education and empathy. Their commitment and actions are providing guidance and community strength to transform and heal the suffering from inherited patterns of parenting that do not serve healthy connection and trust in our children. The API founders, Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, their Board of Directors, parenting support groups, and members all bring their experience to API. They learn together, through their collective insight, success, and clear scientific research to share and model a constructive, joyful, engaged parenting lifestyle.
API parenting support groups provide parents with the kindness, understanding, and manageable baby steps they can take to bring peace to their own minds and to establish the beautiful bond, emotional connection, and healthy behaviors that they wish for their children. Respect and affection naturally flow, and can be restored when needed, where healthy attachment and compassionate communication are practiced. This quality of connection and interaction invites and encourages healthy attachment and bonding that serve babies for their entire lives. Parents find ways to meet their own needs, as well as their babies’ through API. Harmony expands. Effective, sound, proven behaviors and parenting choices allow attachment parenting families to thrive, beginning by instilling trust in their babies and children.
We were honored to hear from such experts in their respective fields: API Founders Lysa Parker & Barbara Nicholson, renowned pediatrician William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN, Sir Richard Bowlby, James McKenna, Darcia Narvaez, Lu Hanessian, Peggy O’Mara, and Gabor Mate, among others. That’s a lot of parenting knowledge under one roof!
However, despite the wealth of information many of these experts had to offer, one message was a constant throughout:
Parents should trust their instincts and listen and respond mindfully and sensitively to their babies.
As API says: “Our principal goal is to heighten global awareness of the profound significance of secure attachment — not only to invest in our children’s bright futures, — but to reduce and ultimately prevent emotional and physical mistreatment of children, addiction, crime, behavioral disorders, mental illness, and other outcomes of early unhealthy attachment.” API’s mission to establish a more compassionate world is being fulfilled through education, support, advocacy and research.
As parents, we love the “8 principles of Attachment Parenting”:
- Prepare for pregnancy and birth
- Feed with love & respect
- Respond with sensitivity
- Use nurturing touch (babywear!)
- Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
- Provide consistent, loving care
- Practice positive discipline
- Strive for balance in personal and family life
API recognizes the root cause of dysfunction in society and the power parents have to dissolve and transmute past painful experiences, so they are not passed onto future generations. Vast research on a variety of cultures and of our human history shows the validity of accepting that parents can change the world one baby at a time by engaging in strong, healthy emotional loving attachment. No one parents alone. That idea that “it takes a village to raise a child” is true. We are social animals, and API provides the excellent opportunity to find wind for our sails, companionship in growing as parents, and the stars to guide our families in the direction of what peaceful cultures have established.
Children know how to love. They are born wanting to be close, to be held, nourished skin-to-skin, and to breathe your breath. Babies know how to connect. API restores and enlivens love at the roots, in our own hearts and in our families.
Happy Birthday to API, we thank you for all you do to support and cherish parents. Here’s to a lifetime of supporting flourishing children and families.